We congratulate Dr. Mayke Kaag with her new position as professor. She has been named professor by special appointment of the Anthropology of Islam in Africa and its Diaspora at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The chair has been established on behalf of the African Studies Centre Leiden.
As a political anthropologist, Mayke Kaag conducts research on contemporary Islam in Africa and the African diaspora from the perspective of Africa’s global connections. Islam – in Africa and elsewhere – is both a product of global connections and a co-constructor of them. Kaag focuses primarily on connections achieved through mobility and migration and through Islamic charities and educational institutions.
It has become particularly important to consider the dynamics of Islam and its global connections in these times of intensive globalisation, in which increasing global interdependence is developing hand in hand with major uncertainty, distrust and inequality, as well as an intensified search for connection, morality and meaning.
Muslims from sub-Saharan Africa have often been underrepresented in research on (global) Islam. With this in mind, Kaag will use her special appointment to research how West African Muslims interpret, use and help determine these connections. Local cultural and political contexts will be important in her analysis, as will the experiences that (categories of) African Muslims have of inclusion or exclusion, influenced by local, national and global power dynamics. Kaag will examine the impact that these experiences have on processes of religious meaning-making, forms of political Islam, and connections that Muslims in Africa and the Diaspora establish.
At the UvA, Kaag will participate in the ‘Exploring Diversity: Critical ethnographies of belonging and exclusion’ research programme set up by the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR).